This episode of the Flash finally gives the plot the big push we’ve all been waiting for. The introduction of Wally has been a slow boil for awhile now because, aside from skin color, his personality is very different from the eager Flash fanboy turned heir that was in the comics. However, like many of the other updates and tweaks made to the characters for the show, it serves its purpose in allowing Wally to be a broader character than the time would allow when he was originally introduced. One of the cleverest things has been introducing the little ways Wally both reflects the life and personality Barry has as a result of being raised by Joe, and what things would’ve been different if he’d lacked that parental figure guiding his life. Where Barry is methodical, Wally is impulsive. Where Barry is secretive, Wally puts everything out there. That bit of nature vs nurture dialogue that has run throughout Wally’s story has made what could have been a very rote, soap opera-y story exceptionally interesting.
It also continues the tightrope that Joe and Iris have had to walk in keeping Wally there, without enabling his lifestyle. While it’s understandable that Joe doesn’t want to drive away Wally by waving his badge and lifestyle at him, Iris rightfully calls him out on the danger of letting him continue to risk his life drag-racing. The story does run the risk of being a bit too after-school special with Iris waving the statistics and incidents in Joe’s face but it does serve the purpose of reminding Joe who he has to be for Wally: his father, not his friend.
The A-plot this week is fairly interesting if a bit tepid in comparison to the emotional charge between the Wests. Tar Pit, one of the more visually interesting villains from Geoff Johns’ Wally West Flash run shows up as this week’s villain. While he’s not really the point of the plot, it does serve as a visually interesting exercise having Barry fight a tar pit monster. The slowly baking plot with Harry’s betrayal of the Flash to Zoom finally pays as well, with his attempting to steal Barry’s speed in order to give it to Zoom.
The difference between Barry having less speed and Zoom having more isn’t immediately apparent but it does serve in highlighting how much Harry has changed since arriving to Earth-1 (or Earth-2 to him). That Barry is the one willing to point out how they’d all do the same (or already have in Cisco’s case) in Harry’s position is a nice sign of how much he’s endeared himself to the group.
This episode was a nice recovery from the prior mess of last week’s episode. While the episode is flashy, it does serve as a nice insulated bridge compared to any book-keeping or crossover work the Flash has favored lately. Any show worth its salt is able to build around more than just the sole lead, even with the departure (for now) of Captain Cold and Heatwave, the Flash still has a commendable cast going for it. With any luck, Barry’s trip to Earth-2 will be as exciting as we’ve all been hoping for. See you all next week.
4 out of 5 Tar Pits
- Joe and Iris finally being together more often really really helps. As well as highlighting just how much of an effect he has on his kids, we get to see just how much heart Jesse Martin has in all his emotional ranges.
- Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not a fan of the show doing with Tar Pit what they did with Girder. Not out of any particular attachment, but maybe I just find a guy perpetually stuck in asphalt cooler than some dude with a transformation.
- Poor Harry, trying his best to keep with the times as to what 26 year olds do at night.